Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Christopher Kane Fall 2016

Grandma chic reached dizzying new heights at Christopher Kane's Fall 2016 show at London Fashion Week. Kane has combined the best of traditional motifs with synthetic materials and reinvented each with a modern twist. The designer proves that romanticism doesn't necessitate ruffles and washed out colours, but can have a more fun and playful side. A collaboration with milliner Stephen Jones turned heads, combining loose strands of hair and chopped bangs with plastic rain bonnets knotted tightly under the chin. Suffice to say fashion commentators and lay observers alike had tongues wagging about the sartorial choice (and yours truly couldn't help but resist recreating this look as a very cheap DIY). Beyond the headscarves were some equally outrageous shoes, boasting plastic plumage with leather gloves, fur cuffs and glamorous brooches in tow. Despite a menagerie of fabulous accessories, it was the dresses and knitwear that reigned supreme complete festooned with enough embellishment to perfectly suit the likes of Susie Bubble. 

Although I'd like to think of myself as someone who is well dressed (or at least indulges in the ceremony of creating a new outfit each day) I must admit, combining outfits with the perfect, practical bag has me stumped. In particular the shopper bag or any large tote has been particularly difficult to style. The designs are more practical than elegant, and it becomes evident with the amount of wear and tear on my own bags (as well as some unfortunate stains, the results of lunches ferried from home to work which did not survive the trip). I'm somewhat limited without the luxury of having a whole handbag collection at my disposal but it serves as a "working definition" if you will, of looks I should aspire towards. If there's one thing I've learned from this fall collection, it's that knitted embellishments look just as good on your handbag as they do on a dress. Cue mad attempts to crochet, inevitable frustration and scouring etsy for handmade/ vintage bag charms or other paraphernalia suitable for swinging from a handbag

Although I have no use for one given my present location (the middle of outback Australia) Christopher Kane managed to make even a grey coat seem fanciful and full of whimsy. Particularly those coats long enough to just skim across the knees and gargantuan sleeves. While I'm told it does get cold during the evenings, nothing more than a light jacket is needed to shield me from the cold. However, the romance of wearing a heavy jacket and trudging through stormy weather still seems lofty. Perhaps it was the injection of such a modest piece of clothing with sexy black sheer or the texture variation between each piece but when worn with a pair of black ankle boots the coats oozed luxury and cool. Add a bit of grandma bling by way of chunky oversized brooch and you have a winning combination. Perspex rain hoods were optional, but seemed most impressive when worn with lace cuffs followed by boxy leather black handbags. For those brave enough to take this aesthetic to the extreme, I would recommend wearing your sunglasses dangling from a string of pearls

The looks most likely to be worn by Susie Bubble and the fabulous, self-affirmed women from street style blogs such as Advanced Style are the Gothic romantic floor-length floral dresses. Or perhaps this is just a projection of what I think these inspiring women would look best in, as well as my own desire to wear gorgeous flowing dresses with asymmetrical hemlines. These looks saw the emergence of thin, statement charm bracelets and footwear with the occasional flurry cuff of feather embellishment. While the accessories seem to pale in comparison to the gorgeous dresses, it's these finishing touches which reinforce the idea of creating an outfit based around one piece. While some may snicker and suggest that these autumnal floral prints would be better suited to armchairs rather than adorning the female body, I would willingly embrace grandma chic in its eccentric glory.

As the show progressed, I slowly lost interest in the clothes and became fixated on the loose charms, bracelets and brooches scattered throughout the collection. Although I'm predominantly wearing shades of red and black, these clothes don't interest me when curated in block colours. A number of years ago I made the sartorial mistake of attempting to pin brooches to a pair of pastel coloured socks worn with traditional Japanese hand woven sandals. Needless to say the whole thing was a disaster albeit an attempt at Decora (one of the most most pervasive Harajuku style groups) and I never delved into such a tedious method of ornamentation ever again. But maybe the brooches weren't the problem, and had I gotten my grubby mitts on a slip dress I might have found a different path entirely. One does not do well to dwell on such thoughts of fancy, and my energy would be better spent creating some conceptual sketches of what my future self would look like wearing a creative and yet artfully coordinated outfit. Wonderfully weird shoes not essential but strongly encouraged.

So often I've seen crochet flowers not too dissimilar to those which graced the runway at Christopher Kane adorning tea cosies and handicrafts across the country. Of course in their current state I ignored their potential or worse, scoffed at their crumpled petals and misshapen forms. At the time I lacked the imagination or daring to wear them with evocative elbow length leather gloves and a little black dress. In my defense, when attempted as a DIY or upcycled piece without any reference to a particular designer, the looks would have fallen flat and lost all their charm. That's not to say I should be discouraged from finding my own means of adding strange knitted objects to outfits, but discovering what's practical would be a helpful starting point. I suppose I'm hoping to invent some strange combination of upcycling and found art to recreate outfits I've seen on the runway. As per usual, I'm somewhat limited in terms of craft supplies living in a small town but just think of the ramifications of undertaking such a large and ambitious project!

Once again, stripes featured prominently throughout the collection, something Kane has learned to reinvent from season to season depending on the medium through which he works. In this instance, ribbed jersey knit dresses became the epitome of maximalist chic replacing previous incarnations including (but not limited to) gaffer tape t-shirt dresses and futuristic bodycon dresses. Even within this collection, stripes proved a versatile canvas and worthy of the finale where ribbons of material fluttered down the runway. After a six-day working week and a warm mug of chamomile tea, with my vision blurred I'm left wondering whether anyone else found the Avant-garde hemlines to look more like the tentacles of a jellyfish after intense contemplation. While these remarks might seem disparaging (I promise, this is just the effect of such a unique analogy!) I loved the water colour three dimensional flowers and stripes reinvented and worn in painterly fashion. To me, this is fashion iimitating art at its best (rather than Viktor and Rolf's outlandish picture frame dresses...)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Gucci Girl

Wearing: Thrifted blazer, vintage blouse, Miss Shop skirt and Miu Miu clogs.

One of the most influential designers of our time is
Alessandro Michele who has brought meaning back to fashion week through a radically different culture at Gucci. This is an outfit I've had planned for over a week, but in that time Susie Bubble has since collaborated with Gucci showcasing the clothes in all their fantastical glory. She notes the clothes are much more wearable than they first appear on the runway, when in real time the lights and sounds are able to bend the light around them, making them appear rose-tinted. 

While the clothes I'm wearing are a far cry from the decadence the runway shows might suggest, there is a hint of luxury in the form of a lined jacket and embroidery on this vintage blouse. Aside from my shoes (they're Miu Miu, duh), everything was relatively cheap which makes me feel more optimistic about my ability to copy looks off the runway using second hand and vintage clothing.